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A Small Town Gal

When I Grow Up

Mel Boone 

Finish this question, "When I grow up...".

I'm sure I'm not the only one that heard that as a kid. If you're like me, you may have more than one answer, or at least changed it a few times before you decided on one.

My earliest recollection of being asked that was answering "President." Well I'm pretty sure I may not get to the top seat of the U.S. government, but I am currently vice president of the local ham radio club and have held that position since January 2016.

I know since the sixth grade, (and looking back that's a long, long, time ago!), I decided that I wanted to be a photographer. I'm by no means a professional photographer, but my photos have been published in several magazines, calendar, and on my blog.

I think the only career that I've so far failed to be is cowgirl. Yes, I admit it, the only thing that I liked just as much if not better than Bugs Bunny cartoons on a Saturday morning was watching westerns on Saturday morning. The Rifleman, Bonanza, Rawhide, Wagon Train, The Wild, Wild West were just a few of them. It was fantasy galore for me all morning long imagining myself in all of them.

Fast forward to Christmas 2017 when I took my Christmas money and bought the complete series of Wanted Dead or Alive and the first two seasons of Laramie. So here I am again, reverting back to childhood, day dreaming about being a cowgirl. Good grief, if the DVD player quits on me, I may burst into tears for not being able to see dear Slim and Jess.

Oh well. I never expected to achieve everything. I guess in the long run, I've done pretty good. At least I can still daydream, right?

geese

Be My Valentine

Mel Boone 

Valentine's Day is upon us already.  I'm not sure how it could be that February is half gone by now, but it is and  love and romance is in the air. It's is a joyful day for those who have a significant other to spend it with.

Chocolate and flowers will be delivered to many loved ones. Dinner date reservations will be made. Romance, it does still exist. It's a wonderful holiday that ends too soon and we're left with wonderful memories.

I wonder how many are in the same boat with me. I don't have that special person in my life, so Valentine's Day ends up just another day. No chocolate, no flowers, no dinner date. Then sometimes I wonder if I'm selling myself short on that idea.

I wake up every morning to a couple of furry creatures that insist on showering me with dog kisses every morning. If I leave, they greet me at the door excited to see me every time I come home. So what if I'm not greeted with candy and flowers? At least I'm greeted by those who honestly adore and are happy to see me.

The dinner dates are every day. That pretty much means that I eat while Jake and Buddy watch me in hopes of getting a nibble of whatever I'm eating. I guess that beats the heck out of eating alone even though the conversation can be one sided most of the time.

Maybe it is a good thing just to have them. I mean, if I was in an actual relationship, I wouldn't want the typical Valentine's Day presents. I love dark chocolate, but I have way too many pounds on my body to loose. I have jewelry that I love the looks of, but I rarely wear any. I just don't dress up enough to justify wearing rings and necklaces and I'm not wearing them when I'm working on an antique tractor. Flowers will eventually die.

Want to buy me something for Valentine's Day? Then buy me a dwarf fruit tree like what I see in the seed catalogs this time of year. How about fixing the flat tire that I have on my John Deere B. I've got a few accessories that I'm looking for to put on my Massey Ferguson (plus I need to drain the fluid out of the rear tires). My point being, I love the things that I can actually use a lot more than the gifts that only last a little while or end up just collecting dust.

Better yet, grab a dog leash in one hand and my hand in the other hand. I could always use a good partner when I've got two terriers to walk.  

valentine
Photo by Getty Images/Melpomenem

Storm Spotter Training

Mel Boone 

Sometimes when I'm outside I take time to look up at the clouds. There's been times when I think, "oh, those look pretty." At other times I'm like, "yep, looks like a storm comin' in."

Just a few days ago I took an opportunity to go to a storm spotters training class held at the expo center just a few blocks from home. I went to my first one a couple years ago, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to go a refresher course. It was a great program presented by a gentleman from the National Weather Service Kansas City office. The presentation was only an hour and fifteen minutes long and very informative. The question and answer session afterward was helpful as well.

I won't go into great detail about everything I learned there. I'm not an expert, so I leave that to those who put on the presentation. The class is interesting with valuable information, so it's well worth going to. I figure if I told you all about it, you wouldn't have the incentive to go. I highly advise going to one if you've ever wondered what these different clouds are and what makes for a tornado.

At the class, everyone gets a reference card that has the spotter hotline on it. Plus it tells you what to report: tornadoes or funnel clouds, 3/4-inch or larger hail, thunderstorm-related damage, flash flooding, plus a few more.

One thing I enjoyed learning at the class is being able to tell the difference in the harmless everyday clouds and the ones that have the potential to bring bad weather. Also,the gentleman giving the presentation couldn't stress enough that this class is a "storm spotters" class not a "storm chasers" class. Safety first!

One last thing that I took away from this was that even though we were taking this storm spotters training (which was free to all of the 60-plus people who showed up) is that the information that we report is valuable to the National Weather Service. Their radar tells them what's in the air, but without people calling their hotline, they won't know what's making it to the ground.

If you have a chance to go to a storm spotter class, don't pass up the chance. I'm sure you can find one by going to weather.gov. Or if nothing else, contact your local TV station and inquire about one with the meteoroligist. I know the ones in my area are really good about passing on that type of information to people.

storm spotter training

Changing Weather

Mel Boone 

There's a saying here in my part of Missouri that goes something like, "If you don't like the weather, just wait a few minutes, it'll change." With that being said, that could be used in various places too.

Just earlier this week, here in northeast Missouri, I was enjoying temperatures in the 50s. It was almost spring-like. Considering that I'd had spent a few weeks of below freezing temps, I was super happy to have the warmer weather despite the cloudy days.

Now Mother Nature has let it turn cold again. I find myself trying to find the knit cap and gloves that I had shed just a few days ago. It's just Mother Nature's way of reminding me that it's still winter. I suddenly find myself once again staring at my calendar trying to calculate how many days are left until the official first day of spring.

I had to add an umbrella to my knit cap and glove ensemble early this morning as I walked the dogs. That addition meant that I had to walk Jake and Buddy one at a time since my left hand was holding the umbrella. That doubled the time that it takes for me to walk them. Plus I had to take time to put coats on each dog. I'm betting this afternoon I won't need the umbrella but I'd better leave it by the door just in case the rain comes back tonight.

I'm reminded of when my Grandpa Boone was still alive. One of his words of wisdom to me was, "Why rely on the weatherman? It's easier and more reliable to look or stick your head out the window." As a kid I always laughed at that.

Now that I've got some age and gotten wiser, I understand what he meant.

frost
Photo by Getty Images/gretanrk

Hay Bales

Mel Boone 

I woke up Monday morning to the first snow of 2018 here in northeast Missouri. Even though there was snowfall on Christmas eve, that had pretty much melted away. Monday morning there was another one inch of the powdery white stuff for myself and the dogs to walk through.

It was mornings like that when I seem to daydream about baling hay out on the farm. If my memory serves me well, the Massey Ferguson 285 diesel would be used in cutting the hay. Sometimes the the Massey Ferguson 165 was used, but most of the time grandpa would use the 285. Not that one was better than the other, but on a good day, grandma would follow right behind him raking the hay. Since grandma was shorter, it was easier for her to reach the pedals on the 165. If both were not needed in the field at the same time, it really didn't matter to them which tractor went to the field first.

When it came to baling, the 285 diesel was used. Most of the time, the hay was put up in big round bales. I remember many times playing on those bales and I'm betting I'm not the only adult that has childhood memories of that. My grandparents used to have a dog named Sasha that loved those round bales too. After grandpa had those round bales set end to end in rows, Sasha would jump on top of the bales and run back and forth on them.

For a few years, square bales were made on the 13 acres across from the farmhouse. I don't remember how many years that was done, but it was a lot of work to pick up those bales, load them onto a trailer and then unload them into the barn. The barn cats however, loved those square bales in the winter time.

hay
Photo by Getty Images/Binnerstam

Gifts

Mel Boone 

We are well into the new year, but Christmas is still on my mind. For me that isn't a surprise. I'm lucky enough to have received gifts that I will use long after Christmas has gone.

magazine

Mom has always been good to renew my magazine subscriptions for me during the past few years. She knows that I enjoy them. With a  renewal, I will enjoy them all year long. Unlike clothing, there is no worry about getting the right size.

I got a little bit of money as a gift. So off I went to Wal-Mart for the Kuerig that I always wanted. Now when I want one cup of tea or hot cocoa, I've got my one cup. No more waste there! The rest of the Christmas money will go toward a few DVDs that I've been wanting. Not only will I watch those at home, they will more than likely go with me when I take my portable DVD player on a trip.

This past Christmas was the second time that I participated in the Reddit Gifts Secret Santa Gift Exchange. The first time that I participated in it was 2016. My secret Santa at that time sent me a cool pair of sunglasses. They were kind of steampunk style, which I like. So far I have yet to wear them because I wear prescription glasses.  I hope to put them to use someday.

I can say that 2017 was different. My secret Santa this time surprised me twice. I got one gift a few days before Christmas, I was sent a knit cap with green and yellow stripes and a John Deere logo on it. With the cold temps since Christmas Eve, I'm getting a lot of use out of it.

Then I received a second gift from my secret Santa the day after Christmas. A beautiful blue T-shirt with a vintage ham radio operator design on the front. I love it! I'm sure there will be a few events during 2018 that the ham radio club will participate in and I will wear this shirt with pride.

I'm glad to have what I got. Every time each present gets used, I will remember the ones who gave them to me.

shirt

New Year is Almost Here

Mel Boone 

2017 will soon come to a close. Soon it will be 2018, and what I assume most people are or will be doing is thinking about New Year's resolutions.

I openly admit that I'm horrible at keeping any resolution that I make on January 1.  How many years have I vowed to lose weight? I've actually forgotten exactly what year I started that one, but believe me, I still have those 40 extra pounds. It's a safe bet that those extra pounds won't be going anywhere in 2018.

I vaguely remember saying that I was going to mount 10 of my best photographs onto 8-by-10 mounting boards to put into the display case at the local library with my camera collection. Well, I have the mounting boards. That's as far as I've gotten with that project. The upside is that I did manage to follow through with a ham radio display in that display case. The librarians and the Friends of the Library club loved the idea. It did give the local ham radio club some public (and free) advertising, showing that the club is still active.

"This is the year I'll get hired!" was another January 1, 2017 mantra for me. Well, it hasn't happened yet. With all of the paper applications, online applications and resumes, I have gotten a few interviews. I should not give up that resolution yet. There's still about 2 1/2 weeks left in 2017, so there's still a little hope left for that one, right? If nothing else, perhaps I should hire myself out as a dog walker. Both of my dogs have trained me well for that position.

So as I get ready to say goodbye to 2017 and hello to 2018, I wonder what the new year has in store for me. I don't know, but somehow I'm excited and scared at the same time.

clock
Photo by Getty Images/phototechno